Group Captain Raju Stephen (14689) Flying (Pilot) was commissioned in the Flying Branch of the IAF on 29 Dec 1976. He has flown over 4500 h on a variety of aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College. He has commanded a Care and Maintenance Unit (C & MU) and has been a flying inspector with the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection at Air Headquarters. Presently, he is posted as a Commanding Officer of a transport Squadron (Sqn) since 23 Jul 2001. While Commanding the Sqn, Gp Capt Stephen has met all assigned tasks in a professional manner. He has led his Sqn from the front and has flown numerous drop and landing sorties in the northern sector under the most challenging flying conditions. He deftly managed the resources placed under him to maximise their use and achieve better than expected results. Under his dynamic leadership, the Sqn airlifted the highest tonnage in the history of air maintenance in the northern sector during three consecutive months from Nov 2002 to Jan 2003. This was achieved in spite of constraints of aircrew, aircraft availability and unprecedented bad weather during Jan 2003. The Sqn's excellent performance during 'Op Parakram' on the flight safety front and in exercise 'Geromino Thrust' at Alaska, USA, bears testimony to exceptional leadership qualities and professional competence. He continuously managed his team by keeping them in high morale and motivated to do more with utmost regard to safety in the air and on the ground.
For his dynamic leadership and exceptional devotion to duty, the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Group Captain Raju Stephen.